Ask A Queer: Lydia Rogue
Today’s queer is Lydia Rogue. Lydia resides in Portland, Oregon and is currently a freelance writer. They just come out with a book, True Trans Bike Rebel, which is a collection of essays from trans and nonbinary people who use human-powered transportation, and are currently reading and editing submissions for an anthology of feminist bicycling science fiction that’s written by trans or nonbinary people. Lydia and their girlfriend are the proud owners of three rats.
If there is a word you don’t understand in this blog post, you can consult the main page of “Ask A Queer” for definitions. Now let’s get into it! The following responses from Lydia were only edited for clarity. These words and this experience are all theirs.
How do you identify? What are your pronouns?
I am genderfluid and queer, they/them pronouns. If you want to break down the queer more, I’m demisexual and some sort of bi or pan romantic, but I just go with queer.
What do you wish people understood about your identity?
There’s a lot. Queer isn’t a slur – the claims that it is are a TERF dog whistle. It’s been reclaimed by the community. Queer is a term that doesn’t put emphasis on gender – either your own or your partner’s – which is why I use it. So many sexualities now seem to require a fixed gender on your end – e.g. woman or woman-aligned person who loves the same is a lesbian, bisexual is sometimes referred to as same gender and other gender(s) (whether or not that’s accurate is up for debate, but I’m not going to go into that). But for those of us who don’t necessarily have a fixed sense of gender, queer is one of the few options left.
Also, not everyone is demisexual. It’s part of the asexual spectrum that means that you don’t experience sexual attraction until you’ve formed an emotional bond with the person. If you can look at a picture of someone you’ve never met and be sexually attracted to them, chances are you’re not demisexual. Claiming that everyone is demisexual is a form of erasure.
Finally, trans is an umbrella term that by definition includes nonbinary people. Not all nonbinary people identify as trans, since in modern connotations it almost always means binary trans people. However, the white stripe of the trans pride flag is for nonbinary people and I feel like it's important to acknowledge that. Also, gender non-conforming does not mean nonbinary. You can be GNC and cis! People need to stop conflating the two.
What can allocishet people do to support your community?
Stop making such a big deal about pronouns. If you’re invited to share them, share them, but don’t require it of people and don’t demand to know someone’s pronouns, especially if you’re in a public (e.g. more than just you and them) space.
Also, know when you’re not welcome. If you see something that’s just for trans or nonbinary folk and you’re cis, stay out of it – and don’t kick up a fuss just because you weren’t invited this time. Same with allocishets for queer-only events. (Of course, straight people can be queer if they’re trans or intersex, but in this case I mean people who aren’t queer at all.)
What do you love about being queer?
I love the sense of community. I love the instant bond that forms when I see another queer person out in the wild.
How do you stay connected to the LGBTQ+ community?
I mostly stay connected via social media, but also through giving back to the greater community through my writing. One of the rewards on the Kickstarter for True Trans Bike Rebel had an option for people to donate a book to a Q Center library.
With The Great Trans-Universal Bike Ride, which is the anthology of short stories I’m working on, I’m hoping to help trans and nonbinary people see their name in print for the first time. I’m also hoping to help people see themselves in the type of media they love with the book.
What does the LGBTQ+ community need to work on? How can they better support your identity?
I think we need to stop with the in-fighting about whether or not someone is oppressed enough to be considered queer. If you aren’t perisex (non-intersex), cisgender, heterosexual and heteroromantic, you belong here. If you’re not sure, you belong here. Stop tearing each other down and support one another, especially in these dark times.
Describe your coming out experience in 5 words or less.
Too many times to count.